R3 paints optimistic look on enterprise blockchain adoption as companies become ‘smarter’

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

A new report from R3 paints an optimistic picture for enterprise blockchain initiatives, with companies learning more around how the technology works and delivery increasing.

The report, titled ‘Blockchain: 2020 Vision’, argues that delivery issues, rather than disillusionment, led to the slowdown. In other words, putting these things together takes time; companies who have been working on privacy, performance, and enterprise integration in 2018 and 2019 will see success in 2020.

“A sense of ‘pragmatic realism’ will prevail in production, with real-world engineering principles increasingly being applied both to blockchain technology developments, and to the governance arrangements that bind consortia and their networks together,” the report notes. “Successful participants will have more realistic expectations about interoperability, infrastructure, network permissioning, and the actual level of decentralisation required to appropriately balance responsibility and control.”

As a result, R3 argues that companies will become ‘smarter customers’ for blockchain projects. This is to be expected as organisations learn from previous initiatives; the report notes that a better understanding of public or permission-less, versus private and permissioned platforms needs to take place in the context of privacy. This is similar advice to that advocated by the World Economic Forum (WEF) at the start of this year; noting that enterprises have especially complex systems, a hybrid approach may be beneficial.

“Understanding who in a network decides which transactions get confirmed and stay confirmed will help to focus enterprise blockchain thinking in 2020,” the R3 report noted.

While the financial and logistics sectors have provided the most attention, R3 noted that healthcare, pharmaceuticals, telco, automotive and more are gaining traction as a wider part of the supply chain. The report predicts that providers who have built sector-specific supply chain applications will apply the same principles to serve other industries. For instance, track and trace applications in food could also be applied to asset tracking in aviation supply chains.

“Now that proven applications exist, they will be applied across sectors, increasing the pace of innovation in other industries,” the report noted.

You can read the full report here (pdf, no opt-in required).

Interested in hearing more in person? John Calian is speaking at Blockchain Expo Global, on March 17-18. Find out more about the Blockchain Expo World Series, Global, Europe and North America.

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